Former secretary of state Michael Pompeo has announced that he will not be running for president of the United States in the 2024 election in order to focus being a Sunday school teacher.

In a statement, he said the decision came after “much consideration and prayer”.

He said: “The time is not right for me and my family. At each stage of my public service – as a soldier, as a member of the US House of Representatives, and then as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and as your secretary of state – I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to advance America in a way that fits the time and the moment.

“This is not that time or that moment for me to seek elected office again.”

He continued: “For now, Susan and I have concluded that we can best serve in roles we’ve been in before – as parents, Sunday school teachers, community leaders and business leaders.

“This nation has given me more than I deserve – unimaginable opportunities. My duty to return that blessing to others remains and with his help I will fulfil that obligation.”

The decision comes after receiving both encouragement and caution from supporters and detractors alike.

He expressed gratitude for those who have prayed for him to run in “defence of the nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage”.

He also acknowledged those who advised him against seeking the presidency.

“To those of you who have been praying alongside Susan and me for discernment and wisdom, thank you. Don’t stop praying – not only for Susan, Nick, Rachael and me but for America to remain as a beacon to those seeking life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he added.